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Crosby 1st responders build guided heliport

CROSBY – Soon a Lifeflight helicopter will be able to land in this area inspite of most rain or harsh weather thanks to the efforts of local first responder tax entities. This will benefit victims of mayhem from as far away as Chambers and Liberty County.

This area will have an instrument guided emergency heliport, the only one in Unincorporated Harris County and about a twenty mile circumforance at Crosby Volunteer Fire Station #1 on U.S. 90 once agreements and construction have been completed between HCESD#5 (the tax collection agency for HCESD#5 the ambulance service of Crosby, yes they have the same name) and HCESD#80 the tax collection entity for Crosby Volunteer Fire Department.

Agreements have been in the works for nearly a year now, both agencies have lawyers carefully going over who will pay for what. The Crosby Volunteer Fire Dept.’s tax collection entity HCESD#80 signed an agreement on Nov. 11 and sent it to HCESD#5 for review.

The next phase to complete this life saving marvel is to have a contractor and architect hired to begin the work.

There are two parts to this modern marvel. Part one is a heliport, a physical landing area at Crosby Volunteer Fire Department Station #1 to be built near the retention pond that is to be built for a helicopter to land and pick-up patients to be flown to trauma centers like Hermann Memorial. Then there is to be an instrument guided flight plan path that when weather obscures vision or otherwise offers challenges to normal, visual flight this F.A.A. approved flight plan guided by Global Positioning System can be used to have a helicopter safely touchdown at this location from the hospital.

Flight plans are documents filed by a pilot or flight dispatcher with the F.A.A. prior to departure which indicate the craft’s planned route or flight path. Flight plan format is specified in the ICAO Doc 4444. They generally include basic information such as departure and arrival points, estimated time en route, alternate airports in case of the unexpected, type of flight (whether instrument flight rules [IFR] or visual flight rules [VFR]), the pilot’s information, number of people on board and information about the aircraft itself. Flight plans are highly recommended, especially when flying over inhospitable areas as they provide a way of alerting rescuers if the flight is overdue. IFR flights, flight plans are used by air traffic control to initiate tracking and routing services. For VFR flights, their only purpose is to provide needed information should search and rescue operations be required, or for use by air traffic control when flying in a “Special Flight Rules Area”.

This will provide much expanded Lifeflight capability for the Crosby area and a radius of about 20 miles around. It is expensive to put together and both the ambulance and fire department’s tax entities have carefully trimmed cost while making sure to provide high standards for all equipment involved.

“It will have all F.A.A. required lighting for landing at night,” said Randy Foster of ESD#80.